Don Perata to surrender his gun tomorrow

State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, who earlier this week was made a lame duck as voters rejected the term-limits reform measure Proposition 93, announced today he’ll kick off a gun-buyback event he helped organize by handing in his own shootin’ iron.

Yes, the lawmaker who helped shore up one of the nation’s most stringent assault weapon bans has been a gun owner for many years; he even had a permit to carry a concealed handgun, although he says he let that lapse a few years ago and wasn’t carrying when he was carjacked in late December. The pistol-packin’ Perata used to drive the National Rifle Association and similar groups wild, but Perata contended it was threats from overzealous gun enthusiasts that had driven him to arm himself.

glock17.jpgNo more, apparently. Cameras have been invited to watch Perata hand his gun over to Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker tomorrow morning, as volunteers will tally his as the first of what they hope will be at least 300 handguns and assault weapons taken off the street. The cameras will be banned for the rest of the event, however, as this is a “no questions asked, no ID required” event aimed at letting people drop off weapons anonymously.

Asked what kind of handgun Perata will surrender, and whether that’s the only firearm he owns, spokeswoman Alicia Trost replied, “All I know is that he is turning in a gun tomorrow.” She did say, however, that Perata will forgo the cash to which he’s entitled.

(UPDATE @ 4:35 P.M. FRIDAY: “You asked the right questions, and got BS for an answer,” is what Chuck Michel — a partner in “the largest law firm practicing firearm and related law West of the Mississippi” down in Long Beach, and counsel to the California Rifle & Pistol Association — just e-mailed me in reply to my request for his thoughts on this post.)

(UPDATE @ 11:03 A.M. SUNDAY: Aha! From Kamika Dunlap’s story in today’s edition: “Perata turned in his own .357 magnum. He said he had a permit to carry a concealed handgun until it lapsed a few years ago. The senator, however, said he still keeps a shotgun at his house for protection.”)

Perata teamed up with Alameda County officials and the faith-based community to stage this “One Less Gun” buyback, offering $250 cash for each working handgun or assault weapon dropped off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 9, at Allen Temple Baptist Church, 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland; True Vine Ministries, 896 Isabella St. in Oakland; or Christian Cathedral, 2433 Coolidge Ave. in Oakland.

No shotguns or rifles will be bought, only handguns and assault weapons; police will determine which firearms are eligible for payment. Those taken will be sent to The Crucible, an Oakland nonprofit metalworking and sculpture studio, to be melted down and turned into a peace monument.

Perata’s office says there has been aggressive outreach for the buyback through nonprofits, churches and school districts; AC Transit handed out 10,000 flyers to commuters, and Oakland fire stations distributed them as well. Golden State Warriors forward Al Harrington touted the event in a public-service announcement which has been broadcast locally and put on the Oracle Arena’s big screen during Thursday night’s game, and Perata did two PSAs of his home.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Mark

    I’m wondering if this is the Weapon that Mr Perata has on his CCW or is this just a gun he found to make a notable notice in the media ?

    I would put money that is not one of his permitted handguns.

  • John MacDonald

    How amazing is this? Don Perata finally admits he is still a gun owner, after all these years of being anti-gun in his rhetoric and legislative votes. What an amazing display of hypocracy! How is it that so many of our elected officials think that it is okay to espouse laws that negatively affect the common man while they, the elite and special, should get to do something else. How many of Perata’s constituents would be thrilled to have a pistol carry permit to protect themselves on the mean streets of Oakland? But no, it is not for them – only for a special person like Perata. I say thank you to the good people of California who saw through the conniving of Perata and Nunez with their Proposition 93 to change the term limits. Finally, they are gone – hooray!

  • renegade Republican

    Save your gun don!!! You may need it again in Oakland.
    Of course once you loose your state financed hot rod nobody will probably want to bother you.

  • Frank

    Typical gun banner. He’ll arm himself when he feels threatened, blaming NRA followers for the threats, then capitalize on ridding himself of the gun. I’d bet the farm it’s not his only gun. Remember Feinstein turning in hers? That was a litte before she became entitled to carry anywhere in the country. But hey, restricting the rights of the hoi-poloi is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

  • Letalis Maximus, Esq.

    Police will decide who gets the $250 and who doesn’t? What a rip-off!

    It is not fair, I tell you. We in the pro-RKBA community have long felt that these gun buy-back programs were the best place to get rid of our junk that doesn’t work so that we can use the money to buy ammo.

    That does raise the question, though: if the police decide that you don’t get the $250, do you get to take your gun back home with you? Or will the coppers seize it?

  • John Reid

    >>$250 cash for any unloaded handgun or assault [sic] weapon, no questions asked.<<

    Pawn shop and swap shop owners LIVE for days like this! A friend owned a swap shop years ago and still has a couple of buckets of junkers in his basement, most bought for $5 or less. Buy-backs have paid for his NRA life membership, a trip to an advanced pistol shooting school, and a really nice vacation! All with our tax $$s. Are we suckers or what?

    p.s. – Assault is a behavior, not a device.

  • thegreatdebaters

    There is are two types of action: constructive and symbolic. Senator Perata’s buy-back program succeeds in collecting guns, however, since collecting guns is not the goal so much as reducing violence, it is at best a symbolic gesture.

    As John Reid (responder #6) illustrates, the buy-back programs may buy the guns but not the desire to wield one. Would it be such surprise if every gun donated has already been replaced?

    Constructive action would support education in Nonviolence, urban uplift programs, helping all Oakland’s residents have adequate food, shelter, education, employment, and healthcare. Above all, children need to be given all the love we can possibly give them, not the type of “spoil-them-and-do-whatever-they-ask kind of love”, but the example of someone who is always kind, always loving. A good government concerned about the safety of it’s citizens should continue to pour it’s heart toward the integrity of families.

    Gun owner’s are not the enemy here. It is the ignorance of the fact that we are all one. Even religious organizations forget this basic tenet of every major religion. We share the same humanity. No one can buy this realization for us.
    No one is going to buy safety for Oakland. But each of us can contribute to this great goal buy strengthening the relationships with those around us, one relationship at a time.

    May our grandchildren inherit the legacy of our right efforts! Viva Oakland!